The South Australia Health Omnibus Survey (HOS) has investigated a range of health issues annually since 1990. It is a representative population survey using a clustered, self-weighting, systematic, multistage area sample of metropolitan and country areas with populations of more than 1000. Interviews are conducted face-to-face with those aged fifteen years or over.
The nature of an omnibus survey means that a number of not necessarily related questions regarding different topics are included from different users. Over 3000 respondents are interviewed with a response rate of 60%; this means approximately 1500 women will be surveyed. HOS is also an ideal tool to recruit a random sample of women across different age and sociodemographic groups in SA, to be invited to be involved in further research.
Key research strategies include:
- Analysis of cross sectional study data surveying healthy weight, overweight and obese women with and without PCOS, regarding the barriers and enablers for weight management including incontinence and other psychosocial and physiological risk factors.
- Ethical Implications: The original project methods for the methodology of the SAHOS have been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committees, and the questionnaire has been approved for 2015. Further quantitative and qualitative work will require appropriate ethics approval from The University of Adelaide before proceeding.
- Community Involvement: PCOS support groups will be informed about the project through group internet sites. Results will be conveyed to the community through presentations, media releases, internet sites and newsletters.
This project proposes to include five validated questions which have been used in previous SAHOS surveys (1998, 2001) to examine incontinence and reflect the International Continence Society’s definition, in the 2015 SAHOS. These questions will complement other already included questions including the prevalence of PCOS, a measure of pre pregnancy weight, parity and years since pregnancy, present height and weight, the Short Form 12, a measure of physical activity, nutrition, mental health, and other chronic conditions and risk factors, providing great potential for further analysis.
Identification of barriers to weight loss in PCOS will allow the development of targeted strategies to help these high-risk women to achieve optimal postpartum weight loss and lower their risk of obesity and T2DM. The uniqueness of this proposal is the ability to examine a wide range of factors related to PCOS and postpartum health in a community-based sample unlikely the majority of research in PCOS which is conducted in clinic-recruited populations. The novelty of this project is that research concerning barriers and enablers of post-partum weight loss in PCOS women have not been examined. PCOS places a costly burden on the health care system3 and impacts on health and quality of life, yet this has not been examined in relation to the postpartum period as a key life stage to focus weight management to prevent future obesity-related morbidities.
This study builds on the career expertise I have developed in the epidemiological study and qualitative investigation of women’s chronic health conditions and comorbidities. By developing a thorough understanding of this problem, the novel data analysed here will contribute to reducing the burden of PCOS, at both the individual and the population level. This research project aligns with the New Knowledge Program activities of the CRE for PCOS in the following topic areas: Defining the natural history of PCOS; where we are examining the psychological features of PCOS, quality of life, and drivers for adverse psychological health including obesity and infertility, Establishing effective lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions; and Emotional wellbeing in women with PCOS.
The initiative described here will contribute to composing a high quality dataset, and a local cohort of PCOS women, to enable the analysis of data, further investigations and peer reviewed publications in relevant journals, adding to the evidence base for PCOS, and contributing to the success of future grant applications. A number of manuscripts are already planned as a result of this data collection, including initially ‘The effect of incontinence on weight loss in postpartum women with PCOS’, and ‘The determinants of quality of life in women with PCOS’. A pool of women with PCOS will also be identified for recruitment purposes for future work (qualitative, cross-sectional or clinical trials). This will provide a basis for further analysis and publication, increasing chances of future funding, and as well as evidence to support fellowship applications.